Vermicomposting Easy as 1-2-3!
You can harvest your casting every 12 weeks. There are multiple ways of retrieving your castings such as shaker harvesters or the feeding method. The shaker method is the quickest and gives you a uniform product. It allows only castings to fall through while worms and undigested material can go back into the bin. The feeding method consists of feeding one end of the bin for two weeks. Then remove the castings from the unfed end of the bin. Some worms may be lost using this method.
Vermicomposting is composting with the help from worms and beneficial micro-organisms. This method allows you the opportunity to compost year round, in contrast to compost piles that are ineffective in cold winter months. Kitchen waste is being generated constantly and can be transformed into a nutrient rich soil additive.
The worms speed up the composting process by eating their weight in organic waste every two days. The environment is helped by reducing landfill usage. The fertilizer produced is more beneficial and readily used by the plants. The regeneration of the worms is among the many benefits. It’s a Win-Win situation!
Worm castings improve the composition of the soil by adding nitrogen, and reduce water usage by retaining moisture. Castings promote beneficial microbial activity in the soil, without causing groundwater contamination. Don't Worry about adding to much because castings will never burn or harm your plants.
Build a Worm Bin
The first step is assembling the bin. The needed items are the bin, bedding , and the composting worms. These components will create a happy home for your worms. The bin can be made of plastic, or wood, plastic is preferable for the indoor use. The bedding can be shredded paper, peat moss or coconut coir. The Bedding should not be packed down. Dechlorinated water should be added to the bedding, making it feel like a wrung out sponge. Add worms at a rate of one pound per square foot. The Red Wiggler worm is the best composting worm.
Feed the Worms
Feed the worms half their weight in organic waste daily. They will enjoy vegetables and fruits alike. Chopping the feed into smaller pieces will allow them to consume the organic waste more quickly. Worms enjoy coffee grounds and crushed egg shells which aid in the digestion of organic waste. Dairy products, citrus fruit and woody produce should be avoided. Bury the food just under the surface of the bedding to eliminate smell and avoid fruit flies.
Harvest the Bin
Time to reap the harvest! Sixty to ninety days is all that is needed to produce "black gold'. The easy way to harvest your castings is to feed at one end of the bin for two weeks then remove the opposite side. Refill the bin with fresh moist bedding.
Shaker and trommel harvesters work to separate the worms from the castings. The worms can be added to fresh moist bedding to start a new composting cycle.